Not So Traditional Beef Stew

What happens when you live in the city and your fancy grocery store only has $10/lb Kobe beef stew meat? You buy bone in pork shoulder for your beef stew.

That's what happened to us this past weekend. Sunday rolled around and all I wanted was a big pot of simple beef stew after a Thanksgiving weekend of eating non-stop. A few modifications had to be made, but the result was good. Now I've got a freezer full of soup for the not-so-winter months ahead of us. 

Not So Traditional Beef Stew
makes 1 very large pot

2 lb bone-in pork shoulder (fat trimmed, cubed, bone saved)
2 large carrots (peeled and cubed)
4 celery ribs (rough chop)
1 large onion (diced)
6 cloves garlic (minced)
3 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves removed)
1 sprig fresh rosemary (leaves removed, chopped)
2 bay leaves
2 russet potatoes (cubed)
1 large turnip (peeled and cubed)
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
1 cup dry red wine
6-7 cups low sodium chicken or beef broth (homemade if possible)
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp smoky Spanish paprika
salt and pepper

Sprinkle your pork cubes with salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp paprika, and 2 tbsp of flour. Make sure the flour is stuck to the pork. This will help brown the meat, and thicken the stew.

Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and let it get nice and hot. Drop in the flour dusted beef. Let it brown up on one side (don't touch it!) for 2 minutes, and flip as best you can to get another side of the cube browning for 2 more minutes. Remove beef from pot to a plate and set aside.

Lower heat to medium. Add onion, celery, carrots, red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp paprika, salt and pepper. Let cook down for 10 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. Add potato and turnip cubes and let cook for 5 minutes. Drop in the leftover pork bone at this point. It will add lots of additional flavor to the soup. 

Now for the liquid. Add the tomatoes, crushing with your hand as you drop each in. Add all the tomato liquid, the wine and chicken/beef stock. Add a good dash of salt, based on how salty the broth is. Add pepper. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook over a low simmer for an hour. Remove bay leaves and pork bone before serving.

Serve steaming hot with a loaf of crusty sourdough all winter long. And because you had to open a bottle of wine to make the stew, make sure to finish it.

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